A judge validates the creation of the first American "shooting room"

In the United States, the legalization of “shooting rooms” could be summed up by “one step forward, two steps back”. A federal judge in Philadelphia confirmed on Tuesday (January 25th) a ruling authorizing the creation of the first controlled injection room in the United States. A project launched by the association Safehouse, created especially for the occasion, which enjoys the support of the city, as well as the local prosecutor, Larry Krasner.

But the federal prosecutor, who reports directly to the justice ministry, has relayed the position of the Trump government, which opposes the opening of this room, the location of which has not yet been announced. Comparing the place to a "Crack house" (squat where people smuggle drugs), the prosecutor relies on a federal law that prohibits the opening and exploitation of any place intended for the manufacture, trade or consumption of drugs.

In a first decision, released in early October, federal judge Gerald McHugh concluded that "The ultimate goal of installing Safehouse (Was) reduce drug use, not make it easier ". On Tuesday, the same magistrate confirmed his judgment and dismissed a government appeal. "We disagree with the judgment and intend to appeal immediately", for its part, reacted the federal prosecutor William McSwain, quoted in a press release.

Many pending projects

The mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, applauded the judgment and said that the municipality intended to support private operators who would like to set up controlled injection rooms in Philadelphia.

Several other cities in the United States have expressed interest in the creation of such centers, such as New York, whose mayor Bill de Blasio reported in May 2018 that they would like to create four rooms, based on a report from the health authorities. municipal.

But since then, the project has stopped. New York State health official Howard Zucker highlighted in February 2019 the legal risk posed by the establishment of a room.

A final decision in the Philadelphia file, on appeal or before the Supreme Court, is therefore eagerly awaited, in New York but also in cities like Seattle or Denver, where projects are pending. A bill to create six halls in San Francisco was passed by the California Assembly, but is still stuck in the local Senate.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also “Shooting room” in Paris: a neighborhood under tension


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